The distinctive pink shirts worn by Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning stand out in a crowd, but so too does the company’s commitment to the customer service philosophy established by founders Brian and Heather Arlinghaus.

“The customer must win, the employees must win and the company must win,” explains Brian Arlinghaus. “If one of those doesn’t win, nobody wins. So, what’s really important for us from day one is it’s all about the team.”

That team mentality had to grow a little bit over the last two years after Arlinghaus added plumbing as a service line in 2018.

“It’s really been a focus of 2019 for us, having a plumbing team,” says Heather Arlinghaus. “It did require us to hire a plumbing manager and six people.” It also required adding an additional dispatcher for plumbing jobs, several vehicles and, of course, specialized equipment.

“It’s just made sense for us,” adds Brian Arlinghaus. “Our heating and air conditioning customers were going somewhere else for their plumbing needs. And, actually, a lot of customers asked ‘Why don’t you do plumbing?’ We got to thinking, well, why don’t we?”

It’s taken off quickly for the company—customers have been happy to receive the same quality service for plumbing as Arlinghaus has offered for HVAC services. The early success has largely been a product of applying the same philosophy of customer service to plumbing that has been a hallmark of Arlinghaus since its inception.

Andy Caudill was hired on by the Arlinghauses first, to lead the new plumbing department.

“The plumbing manager that we hired on, he had to fit our culture,” says Brian Arlinghaus. “So, it took a while to find that right person and once we found that person, he needed to be out in the field, on top of finding more employees to add into our team. We hire for character and we teach the system.”

Looking ahead, Brian and Heather Arlinghaus are weighing the potential of adding an electrical division to the company as well. But, as with adding the plumbing service line, the Arlinghauses will make sure to find the right person to lead the department before they commit to offering electrical services to their customers.

“That is something that is definitely on the horizon for us,” says Brian Arlinghaus. “It’s very important to us—again, our existing customers need electrical services and they’re using somebody else currently when they could be using us.”

The strong company culture and philosophy, paired with the Arlinghauses’ willingness to plan ahead and ensure their company’s future is bright, has led the company to reach out to area high schoolers about considering trade work after graduation. Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can offer graduating high schoolers training in the skilled trades where they won’t incur educational debt.

“These are things that we will pay for in order to educate them in the field while (they get) a paycheck and have benefits,” Brian Arlinghaus explains. “That is the key ingredient to our growth moving forward, because there’s not a whole lot of youngsters coming into the trades. In order for us to succeed and grow in this business and in our community, we’ve got to be going after the young males and females in high school that are getting ready to graduate and encourage them to come check us out.”

Two Covington Catholic graduates are on the current staff at Arlinghaus who both went into the trades right after graduating. The fact that these two went to a highly regarded private school and chose to enter the field sparked the motivation in Brian and Heather Arlinghaus to reach out to area schools and their students about the viability of entering the skilled trades and, potentially, joining the Arlinghaus team.

“We’ll go down and visit Covington Catholic, we’ve done some things at St. Henry High School,” says Brian Arlinghaus. Company outreach to Northern Kentucky and southern Ohio schools is a major focus for the company in 2020 and beyond, as finding the next generation of employees will solidify the sustainability of Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. “We’re encouraging (the students) to come and check us out. We’re gaining some momentum with that, especially at St. Henry.”

The company offers interested students and graduates the opportunity to accompany Arlinghaus technicians on ride-alongs and meet company members to learn about the expectations of the job and the company’s customer service philosophy. Arlinghaus offers on-site job training and tailors its trade education to the personalities and proclivities of interested young men and women.

Arlinghaus has also forged relationships with Gateway Community and Technical College and Great Oaks to demonstrate the career potential of working in plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical service.

“When I was growing up, anybody who went into the trades was viewed as somebody who wasn’t going to succeed in life. It was frowned upon,” Brian Arlinghaus explains. “That’s just so far from being true. If I could choose to go back and do it all over again, I’d still be in this industry because everybody needs us. Customers need us day in and day out. That is really the fulfillment of our industry—that people need us and we’re there to help them when they need us.”